JS Bach: Arias and duets

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: JS Bach
LABELS: DG
WORKS: Arias and duets
PERFORMER: Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzo-soprano); with Karin Roman (soprano), Anders J Dahlin, Tomas Medici (tenor), Jakob Bloch Jespersen (bass-baritone); Concerto Copenhagen/Lars Ulrik Mortensen
CATALOGUE NO: 477 7467

Advertisement

A couple of tracks indicate that the mezzo, at 53, is beginning to show her vocal age – there’s an occasional hint of unsteadiness and some of her lower notes have lost quality, but such problems are by no means endemic to this well-planned and wide-ranging programme.

Von Otter’s measured tone and musical personality shine out of the seraphic slumber aria from Cantata No. 197. The jocular pastoralism of an aria from Cantata No. 30, in which sinners are likened to lost sheep, is delightfully conveyed, even at slightly too fast a tempo, and ‘Erbarme dich’ from the St Matthew Passion is well shaped.

Additional soloists are brought in for several items, notably tenor Anders J Dahlin for the duet that opens Cantata No. 60, whose scale and broad horizons suggest a vision of eternity.

Advertisement

The period-instrument accompaniments are neat and effective, with the players allowed their head in a couple of introductory Sinfonias (to Cantatas Nos 12 and 35) mixed in with the vocal items. George Hall